EVEN if you are heading away from the mainstream, DIY travel can save cash. Mark Steptoe from Middlesex wanted a long weekend in Stockholm and checked at his local agent. His suspicions were aroused when he saw that prices increased in summer: 'Strange, when Swedish hotel prices virtually halve during July and August.' So he fixed his own trip, saving nearly 40 per cent on a brochure price of pounds 450.

'Time taken to make these bookings? Half an hour - about as long as it takes to get served in my travel agent.'